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Women in Drama

In: English and Literature

Submitted By shreya123456
Words 4799
Pages 20
Modern Performance and Adaptation of Greek Tragedy Helene P. Foley Barnard College, Columbia University “Leave it to a playwright who has been dead for 2,400 years to jolt Broadway out of its dramatic doldrums” begins a recent New York Times review (December 4, 1998) of a British Electra by Sophocles starring Zoe Wanamaker and Claire Bloom. This fall the Times has repeatedly remarked on the “deluge” of Greek tragedy in the 1998-99 theater season: the National Theater of Greece’s Medea, Joanne Akalaitis’ The Iphigeneia Cycle (a double bill that combines Euripides’ two Iphigeneia plays), a revival of Andrei Serban’s famous Fragments of a Greek Trilogy, and a four-and-a-half-hour adaptation of the Oedipus Rex were announced at the start of the season. Off-off Broadway versions will inevitably follow. The Brooklyn Academy of Music even hosted a dance/theatre piece based on the Eleusinian Mysteries. 1 The Classic Stage Company, an off-Broadway theater group devoted to performance and adaptation of Western classics, currently receives more scripts that re-work Greek tragedy than any other category of drama. 2 From a global perspective, New York is simply reflecting a trend set by important modern playwrights and directors worldwide. Greek drama now occupies a regular place in the London theater season. In the past twenty years, acclaimed productions have been mounted not only in Europe but also in Japan, India, and Africa. Translations are even beginning to proliferate in China, occasionally with unexpected results. A recent Chinese translator of Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex referred to all the Greek gods generically as Apollo, since he could count on his audience’s ability to recognize this name from the United States space program. 3 The Greek theater festival at Delphi has played host to many of these performances, with the result that, for example, the Greek National...

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